20 Rehearsal Dinner Venues Fit for Royalty
Rehearsal dinners have grown more distinctive in recent years, chosen not only to offer a good meal, but to showcase the couple’s personalities and tastes.
by Jamie Killian
1. Want to make sure your rehearsal is a real party? 8.2.0 might be your spot. The food menu offers a laid back vibe with lots of pizzas (with gluten-friendly and vegetarian options); the cocktail menu offers familiar favorites and new inventions; and the karaoke lounges offer mics for those in search of limelight.
2. Give back with your celebration by hosting at The King’s Kitchen. They hire staff who receive on-the-job training to equip them for new careers. What better way to celebrate your next chapter than by enjoying an excellent meal while contributing to the community?
3. Go for city chic at Nuvolé Rooftop TwentyTwo, whose menu offers small plates and inventive cocktails in a sleek and sophisticated atmosphere. If you want to be in the city but feel right at home, Fig Tree is located in the historic Lucas House in Dilworth and serves French and Italian inspired dishes or head south to Rooster’s in Southpark, where you’ll find elevated comfort food in a warm and inviting setting.
4. If you want a classic dining experience, Dressler’s is a great option. This New American restaurant has two locations — one in Midtown, one in Huntersville — and offers a menu of the usual favorites (think steak and seafood) with a few surprising spins. The Midtown location offers a patio that will give your guests a beautiful Uptown view.
5. Some other great uptown options include Church and Union which offers high-quality menu inspired by Executive Chef (and former Top Chef contestant) Jamie Lynch, McNinch House offers fine dining in a beautiful Queen Anne-style home circa 1892 or La Belle Helene which offers Instagram-worthy backdrops for pictures alongside upscale dining.
6. It doesn’t get more classic than a steak and martini. Sullivan’s does both well as does Oak in SouthPark. If you want a vintage vibe to your meal, try Beef N’ Bottle.
7. Turn up the romance factor at McGill Rose Garden in Optimist Park. This art gallery combined wine bar offers an expansive event space in their historic rose garden. Fairy lights, fountains and flowers galore add to the secret garden vibes.
8. If your emphasis is on love that ages like fine wine, consider a place with an extensive list like Del Frisco’s. Plus, you’ll have a variety of private rooms to choose from, each with distinct and modern décor. Napa on Providence also offers a huge wine selection and classic vineyard decor.
9. Wow your guests with a rooftop Uptown view. Fahrenheit offers several dining room options to accommodate groups of nearly all sizes and allows your family and friends to toast to your upcoming wedding with a beautiful skyline view as a backdrop.
10. Give out-of-town guests a proper introduction to the Charlotte craft beer scene. Breweries like Triple C, Lenny Boy, Catawba Brewing, Free Range, OMB, Sugar Creek, and Heist offer private spaces for rehearsal dinners, and many beer options to toast the festivities.
11. For a rehearsal dinner that puts you closer to the shore, Drift on Lake Wylie’s offers upscale seafood in a two-story restaurant. The restaurant décor balances nicely between dramatic and elegant, with live jazz adding to the ambiance. Looking to actually be on the water? Check out Hello Sailor, which features a rotating menu and delicious cocktails overlooking Lake Norman.
12. For the ultimate Southern elegance, host your guests at the Duke Mansion. Choose from their private dining rooms, library or conference room to create your dream dinner backdrop. They have on-site catering to make your planning seamless.
13. If you’re feeling outdoorsy, check out the U.S. National Whitewater Center. There’s an onsite restaurant — River’s Edge — with the ability to also host meals in various locations around the facility, including South Ridge, an intimate amphitheater tucked away beneath the astounding tree canopy.
14. Nothing says Carolina like barbeque. Treat your guests to some great local fare at Midwood Smokehouse’s various locations, with the original’s boasting a rooftop with a skyline view, or Mac’s Speed Shop, a Charlotte barbeque and craft beer classic.
15. Treat your guests to a delicious dinner and unforgettable views atop one of Uptown's numerous rooftops. Aura at J.W. Marriott, Merchant & Trade at the Kimpton Tryon and Coin Bar at the Omni are just a few of your options. For a full list, don't miss our Rooftop Restaurant roundup.
16. Knock it out of the park with a rehearsal at Truist Field. You can schedule your meal during a home Knight’s game and provide your guests with classic stadium fare, creating a unique and laid back experience.
17. Enjoy the views and vino with dinner at Treehouse Vineyards with dinner from. your favorite caterer. You can even stay the night in one of their treehouse cabins after your guests have gone home.
18. Looking for something trendy? The Mezzanine at the Trolley Barn in South End offers a private event experience amidst the uber-popular food stall concept. Located right on the light rail, it is a great spot for those needing to commute back to hotels or hoping to check out South End after dinner.
19. For an intimate gathering and locally sourced fare, consider Davidson Wine Co. You can even create custom labels for the wine you serve to give your dinner a personalized feel. 19. Looking for an element of history? The recently restored Palmer Building offers a unique backdrop. It once served as a Fire School for training local firefighters before becoming a community gathering space. Choose from their list of preferred caterers or choose your own.
20. If you have a modern contemporary vision, The Collector’s Room is the perfect place to execute. The renovated warehouse serves as the perfect backdrop to create the rehearsal dinner vibe of your dreams. If you’d rather someone else handle the details, Byron’s South End offers everything from the tables to the linens to full-service catering and booze.
For unique venues requiring catering, try Queen City Catering, Delectables by Holly Catering, or ROOTS catering.